THE REINTERMENT of Richard III is set to be delayed after a key decision over the construction of his tomb was postponed.

Richard’s remains are due to be reinterred at Leicester Cathedral having been discovered under a car park in the East Midlands city, although a group of his relatives who want him to be buried in York have launched a legal challenge which is currently going through the courts.

Proposals by the cathedral could have seen the last Yorkist king, killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485, laid to rest by the end of next summer, but the Cathedral Fabrics Commission for England has deferred its response to the plans.

In a statement, the cathedral said the commission had requested "more information on key aspects of the scheme" before it could respond. Its permission is needed if a £1.3 million plan to rebuild part of the cathedral, including Richard's tomb, is to go ahead.

The Very Rev David Monteith, Dean of Leicester, said: "Leicester Cathedral recognises the complexity of the case the Cathedral Fabric Commission for England is having to deal with and therefore understands why, at this juncture, the commission failed to reach a verdict on our comprehensively-researched proposals for a tomb for King Richard III as part of a major reordering of the cathedral.

"We are disappointed but we appreciate that it is rare for a major application of this kind to be approved at the first discussion owing to its complex nature. It is estimated the works necessary to provide the tomb and its place of honour will take six months, so this development does appear to rule out a reinterment date before summer 2014 at the earliest."

Rev Monteith also said any final decisions must await the outcome of the judicial review determining where Richard is reinterred, adding: "We fully respect that legal process".

"We remain committed to continuing our collaborative preparations to prepare for a dignified and timely reinterment of King Richard III in Leicester Cathedral, with the prayers of the church."